$35 million for Healthy Campus Initiative won’t go toward new IM facilities
The MSU Board of Trustees moved forward on the Healthy Campus Initiative on Friday morning, but none of the allocated $35 million will actually go toward building new IM facilities at MSU, which are widely thought of as some of the worst in the Big Ten.
The Healthy Campus Initiative will promote recreation and fitness on campus without creating or promising updated facilities. It was passed in March 2015 and the funds were acquired.
The $35 million budget will be looked at more broadly, Provost June Youatt said. The use of the money has yet to be determined.
An exploratory committee will look into campus recreation and fitness issues. The board will then meet at the end of Spring semester to make a decision on the funds.
The committee will include faculty, staff and students among other constituents. It is expected to come up with different uses for the money in lieu of new, updated IM facilties.
The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, passed a resolution at a meeting last academic year advocating for the Healthy Campus Initiative and specific details within it.
"With the advocacy of ASMSU and a lot of students really pushing for it this year, the university is finally listening and taking into consideration what students want," ASMSU President Domonique Clemons said.
Clemons said ASMSU advocates for new, updated facilities and will continue to do so among other parts of the initiative.
The board's discussion on the initiative brought up the current state of the IM Facilities.
"We have movement classes occurring in residence halls, in residence hall space lots of things that are not labeled as exercise space but are part of this whole purpose," President Lou Anna K. Simon said.
The Healthy Campus Initiative is budgeted for all 50,000 students in response to the inability to build a large enough facility for all students and faculty.
Simon said the initiative steers clear of labels and a specific building for health.
"We can't build an edifice large enough on this campus for 50,000 students and another 11,000 faculty and staff," Youatt said.
The board discussed how students have been vocal about the current state of the IM facilities and cited the The State News' story on other universities IM buildings.
Youatt said the main focus of the plan is access to recreation and fitness for all students.
"This is an opportunity to look broadly at the entire campus not just at facilties," Youatt said.
Some trustees expressed disapproval with the age of the buildings.
"The IM-West building looks like when I went to school (in the early 1990s)," Trustee Brian Mosallam said. "A grand comprehensive plan is something that's needed."